What Does 'Ace' Mean In Volleyball?

Micha Hancock went down in history during the 2012 NCAA volleyball tournament when she had 22 service aces in Penn State's run to the final four. Her final tally broke the NCAA tournament record previously set by three-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the best to play the game, Misty May-Treanor. 

How does one become a fearsome server like Hancock and score lots of aces? First, each athlete has to determine his or her best serving style.

Definition Of An Ace In Volleyball

The term "ace" refers to when a player serves the ball and the opposing team is unable to pass it. An ace occurs when the ball either hits the ground or is shanked off of a passer making a second touch impossible.

Types Of Volleyball Serves

The most commonly used serving styles are topspin, float, and jump serve.

Topspin Serve

A topspin serve is when servers attack the ball by snapping their wrists similar to how they would when spiking, so that the ball spins and dives to the floor after crossing the plane of the net. This advanced serve requires the ability to aim at a target, and players need control over their strength in order to keep the ball in bounds.

Float Serve

A float serve is more common and is one of the more difficult types of serves for the receiving team to pass. The ball is struck with a firm wrist, almost like you are giving the ball a high-five. It does not have any type of spin on it, causing it to move unpredictably and making it harder for the opponent to determine where the ball is heading.

Jump Serve

A jump serve is a high-level serve that is becoming increasingly popular within the volleyball community. This serve looks very similar to a back-row attack. It requires an approach, which means that the server needs to be far behind the line to allow enough room to hit the ball. For a jump float, servers toss the ball after they have started their approach, while a jump topspin serve calls for the ball to be tossed before the approach has been started.

Practice makes perfect, and perfecting your serve can increase your chances of scoring an ace. If you do so, maybe one day you'll go down in the record books.

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